Based in Northern New Mexico, Higher Ground Bluegrass’ (HGB) members reside in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Los Alamos. Founded in 1998, HGB plays original, contemporary, and traditional music informed by the American traditions of folk, bluegrass, country, and rock and roll. Fred Bolton (Oak Ridge, TN) plays guitar and sings lead and harmony vocals. A lead singer in a high school rock and roll band, he later ‘discovered’ Doc Watson, Norman Blake, Tony Rice, Tim O'Brien, and contemporary bluegrass and celtic music. Thus ended an unpromising career as a rock and roll singer. Fred’s guitar skills help form the HGB rhythmic backbone. Dave Devlin (Long Island, NY) plays mandolin and dobro. As a teen, he played electric guitar with local rock and roll bands until hearing a Flatt and Scruggs recording, which led him down the rocky road of playing the banjo. He once said that the dobro was created in order to rid the world of the banjo once and for all. His musical influences are numerous, with Rob Ickes and Jerry Douglas are at the top of the list. Ken “Duke” Weddington (Burlington, NC) plays the banjo, guitar, mandolin, sings lead and harmony vocals, and is a prolific songwriter. Raised in Alamance County, Duke is rarely mistaken for Opie Taylor. He mis-‐spent many of his early years with Earl Scruggs instruction books and learning songs and licks from LPs; he also counts Doug Dillard as a major musical influence. His instrumental “Alamance” won the 2004 New Mexico Music Industry Award for Best Instrumental. Pat Mahoney (Carmel, CA) plays fiddle and sings lead and harmony vocals. When he joined Higher Ground Bluegrass in 2010, he brought years of experience in bands playing bluegrass, swing, folk, and rock and roll. He helps put the ‘high’ in HGB high tenor harmonies, along with tasteful lead vocals and remarkable instrumental skills. Pat will even play, without complaining, in the key of F. Laura Leach Albuquerque, NM) plays bass and sings harmony vocals. As we understand it, she always wanted to be a musician, but settled for being a bass player instead. A relative newcomer, both as a player and HGB member, she helps hold the bottom end together (always using both hands, of course). She comes to HGB from the folk tradition, and one of these days she might even sing some lead vocals.
Discography: Bluegrass Classics, 2013; Miles and Miles, 2008; People Places Memories, 2003;
Black and White – Faded and Torn, 2001.